Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Doctoral program to start at Saint Paul @ OCU


In January, Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University welcomes its first doctoral-level students.

Dean Elaine Robinson said five people had enrolled by mid-November in the new Doctor of Ministry program.

They will begin with two core courses: "Theology and the Church’s Ministry," taught by Amy Oden; and "Orienting Seminar," an introduction to doctoral-level studies and research, taught by Patricia Jung and Rev. Dr. Robinson.

The students are Becky Pierson, Semaj Vanzant, Sam Powers, Brian Bakeman, and Scott Sharp.

They will join about 40 masters students attending the United Methodist seminary at OCU in the spring term.

The new program "aligns very well with the Conference’s Strategic Plan," said Robinson. "The ongoing education and formation of pastors through the D.Min. is important for the leadership of the Church."

She explained, "The Doctor of Ministry degree is a doctorate for practitioners, unlike a Ph.D. designed for those intending to teach in higher education."

The goal is for D.Min. students to complete 30 hours in "Leading Congregations to Excellence and Innovation." This new doctoral track will be based in Oklahoma and combine the expertise of Saint Paul’s faculty and OCU’s nonprofit leadership program directed by Bob Spinks.

"Theologically, students will focus on the missional church literature, which suggests that leadership is about going into the communities where our churches are, finding out where God is at work, and participating in that mission of God in order to transform lives," Robinson said.

She listed organizing, financial and legal aspects, intercultural competence, collaborations, and other aspects of skilled church leadership as curriculum.

Education at the highest level also is a natural progression for the seminary’s Oklahoma City location, Robinson said.

In Fall 2014, two Master of Arts degree programs will launch there, in Christian ministry and in theological studies. Saint Paul’s main campus is in Greater Kansas City, Mo.

"We continue to move forward, following the leading of Grace," Robinson concluded.

Find out more: http://www.spst.edu/ok.

— Holly McCray



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